I've read a lot lately about bookisms. What are bookisms, you might ask? They are the tag at the end of dialoge. For example, "I hate you," she hissed. Hissed is the bookism.
In the writing world, it's
a big no-no to use bookisms. Common ones are: cried out,
shriek, bawled, laughed, sniffed, shouted, whispered, explained,
screamed, demanded, whimpered, etc. You get the idea.
how bad are bookisms really? Obviously if they are overdone, they can be
very distracting to the reader. Your dialogue should be strong enough
that your reader doesn't need to be told what your main character is
doing when when she speaks.
That being said, you can pick
up just about any book and find bookisms. It's the writers that really
notice and are annoyed by bookisms. Ask your average reader and most
likely they could care less if a character "hissed" something. It's the
writers that say, "How can a person hiss something? Snakes hiss, not
people." Or I've heard writers say, when seeing the line, "You're
funny!" she laughed, how can a person laugh and speak?
Readers are smart. They don't take everything literally. They're
not thrown out of the story because of hissing and laughing. BUT as
writers and professionals, we really should try to avoid them.
What bookisms bother you?
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